I have to admit, the past couple of months have been really tough. What was supposed to be my "busy" season, simply put, has NOT been busy. I have had many, many hours of reflecting on my decision to start this business and sometimes wishing I hadn't done it. I have even gone so far as looking into getting work in my old career field to help tide us over. But not once have I thought about closing the doors. If anything I'm more resolved than ever to make this work.
Everyone in the yarn business says that October to March is the busy season. I stocked up on inventory in anticipation and then we have one of the warmest Decembers on record. I've been told to not take it personally, that everyone in the industry is feeling it, but that doesn't help me when I sit down to pay the bills.
I'm not complaining (well maybe a little bit) just reflecting on one of the most important things I've learned in my first year of owning a retail business - YOU CAN'T PREDICT ANYTHING! You just have to keep plugging away and trying new things.
I have also read that it takes 3 years to establish a retail presence. It used to amaze me when someone who lives in the neighborhood would walk in and say, "When did you open? I didn't know you were here." Even avid yarn people. I have a tendency to think that everyone who lives here walks the streets, is on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, reads the local newsletters cover-to-cover and is as engaged in the neighborhood as I am. The majority of people are not! That is the second big lesson I have learned.
The past few days have been amazing in our City and in our neighborhood. We have seen a record broken for most snowfall in a single storm (30 inches in 30 hours). We have seen our City and neighborhoods rally and dig out like never before and neighbors pull together to help each other. For all of our problems Baltimore is still a great city of great neighborhoods and the SoBo Peninsula is the greatest neighborhood of them all.
What makes this neighborhood so great is the wonderful mix of residential and retail and hospitality businesses, along with the diversity of people who live here. And I plan to be a part of that for many years to come. Both as a resident and a business owner.